Cultivation of avocado and watermelon: A collective calls for an urgent stop

While Morocco is experiencing an unprecedented period of drought that it has not encountered for 30 years, the cultivation of certain fruits such as avocado and watermelon which dry up groundwater has been singled out by an environmental movement. A single 10 kg watermelon can consume up to 450 liters of fresh water, warns the environmental defense association.

The kingdom is already classified as having a semi-arid climate with a significant phenomenon of desertification. However, some fruit crops consume drinking water excessively, also in regions known to be water-scarce.

Today, Morocco has a filling rate of its dams of around 32.7% compared to 49% in 2021, well above the serious drought periods that the country faced in the 80s and 90s.

And, the total volume of mobilization of water resources recorded amounted to 732 million m3 from September 1, 2021 to February 28, i.e. a deficit of around 90% compared to the annual average.

This is how the Morocco Environment 2050 movement made a plea for a radical change in agricultural policy in Morocco, to rethink it according to the specifications of the regions and the level of water consumption, by eliminating productions which dry up the water tables of the countries and promote drought.

The movement estimated that Morocco was exporting one of its most precious natural resources, namely its underground water, to export it in the form of fruits, highlighting that this phenomenon threatens the security of drinking water in the country.

The movement emphasizes in particular the cultivation of avocado and watermelon for export, of which it calls “immediate stop” to protect Morocco’s water resources.

This express and urgent request comes in a context of water scarcity in Morocco, where the government has asked municipalities to put in place drastic measures to reduce the waste of drinking water, in particular by reducing the flow of drinking water. in households, banning its use for watering hotel golf courses and gardens, washing vehicles and cleaning streets, etc.

The Morocco Environment 2050 movement asserts that the measures taken by the authorities would be insufficient to remedy the situation in the country. It draws up, in figures, the range and the impact of the cultures of which it asks the stop.

“A kilo of watermelon planted in the desert consumes 45 liters of water when using drip technology, which means that a watermelon weighing 10 kg can consume 450 liters of fresh water”recalling that the weight of watermelon is made up of 80% water and the export of watermelon means that for 10 kg of watermelon exported abroad, it is “a quantity equivalent to 8 kg of non-renewable groundwater” which is given abroad without return.

The movement explains that it is the water-scarce countries, which export their scarce underground water, to the rich and water-rich countries, which continues to widen the gap between the great powers and the underdeveloped or developing countries. development.

“Water periodically moves from Third World countries to rich countries through the export of water-depleting vegetables and fruits, such as watermelons from North African countries to water-rich European countries. , avocados from South America and Morocco to Europe and America »indicates Morocco environment 2050.

The warning signal is even greater and more worrying when it comes to growing avocado, which is known to deplete water resources. “1 kilo of avocado consumes 1000 liters of water! What about hundreds of thousands of tons per year? » which are produced and exported, questions the environmental movement.

Maroc environnement considers that continuing to produce avocado for export “constitutes a great danger for the continuity of life for us and for future generations on the land of Morocco.asking if Moroccans really need these products to live, and if Morocco really needs to export them.

“Is it reasonable to export water when our country is in water shortage? The answers are clear and changing the policy in the area of ​​exotic crops is urgent”.

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